Rural Intersection Conflict Warning Systems 29 Nov 13

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is deploying Rural Intersection Conflict Warning Systems (RICWS) at rural intersections across the state that use technology on signs to give motorists real-time warning about oncoming traffic.

Also referred to as collision avoidance systems, officials say the signs warn motorists with sensors and flashing lights that are expected to reduce fatal and injury crashes at higher risk intersections.

Rural intersections can be higher risk for a number of reasons, including: at grade, higher speeds, driver complacency with lower volumes of traffic, and longer distances that emergency medical and trauma teams travel to transport victims.

According to Minnesota Crash Facts, fatal crashes tend to occur on roads in rural areas with higher speeds and with non-interstate designs.

In 2011, 225 crashes, or 67 percent, of all fatal crashes occurred in rural areas with populations of less than 5,000 people.

The proposed dynamic warning signs with flashing beacons will advise drivers on major roads with a message “Entering Traffic When Flashing.”  Motorists on minor roads will see flashing beacons and the message “Traffic Approaching When Flashing.” 

To start, the systems will be installed at 20 rural intersections statewide in the next few months and another 30 planned for the next two summers, for a total of 50 systems with the initial deployment.

Throughout MnDOT  District 8, motorists will see these systems being placed at the following intersections within the next few months:



Major Road

Minor Road


Highway 7

County Road 33 – Activated 11/26/13


Highway 23

County Road 1


Highway 71

Highway 9


Highway 23

County Road 30 (North JCT)


Highway 212

Highway 22 (North JCT)


MnDOT is a partner with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and the Minnesota Department of Health in the Toward Zero Death initiative (TZD), which integrates the use of education, engineering, enforcement, and emergency medical and trauma services in communities to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries on Minnesota roads. It is the hope that these systems will continue us on our path towards that goal of Towards Zero Deaths.